The mouthwatering Tex-Mex feast pictured on the gatefold photo of ZZ Top's 1973 album Tres Hombres has long been a triumph of album art food porn, rising above an unappetizing genre that counts the gelatinous pasta from Guns 'N Roses The Spaghetti Incident? and the bizarre tire cake on the cover of Let it Bleed among its most inedible examples.
Austin chef Tom Mickewait has taken his love of the Tres Hombres image to lip-smacking extremes, painstakingly recreating the sumptuous spread of cheesy tacos, refried beans and rice — and devouring it on camera as ZZ Top's "La Grange" plays in the background.
Mickewait, who owns Austin's Micklethwait’s Craft Meats, has even earned the admiration of ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons with his gut-busting stunt.
“It’s crazy – absolutely nuts,” Gibbons tells Texas Monthly. “I stand in awe of what he’s accomplished. I have to hand it to him, he recreated every last element that you see in the centerfold with exacting detail. It’s rather remarkable."
The meal pictured on the original photo of Tres Hombres was first prepared at the long-shuttered Leo's Mexican Kitchen in Houston, where ZZ Top used to hang out. But thanks to a hungry dog roaming around the restaurant, the Texas trio never even got to sample the epic feast.
“At some point, we took a 15-minute break,” Gibbons recalls. “And when we returned we found his German Shepherd laying on his side gasping for breath. He’d jumped up on the table and consumed the entire lot. He got it all.”
Gibbons says he plans to congratulate Mickewait on his impressive feat in person.
“I owe him a visit for sure," he says. "His accomplishment is significant. Next time I’m through, we should invite half the city of Austin to come with us and sample the Tres Hombres platter. He’d make another, right? Tell him I’m coming.”